Can drinking beer make you smarter? Perhaps, according to a researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago. (I used to work in Chicago, I don’t work there anymore…)
Cognitive psychologist Jennifer Wiley and her team came to this conclusion after getting her subjects drunk -yes, really- and testing their creative problem-solving skills. Compared to how they performed pre-intoxication, subjects with a blood alcohol level of 0.07 were worse at working memory tasks, but better at creative-solving tasks.
The Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences’s website explains:
That’s because the alcohol helped study participants access remote ideas, ideas that develop through association not linear analysis. In fact, linear reasoning can keep people focused on ideas they think are important but really aren’t.
For example, if Wiley asked you to tell her what word goes with the following: blue, cottage, Swiss. And you said, “cheese,” you’d be accessing your remote ideas, not linear ones. That is, you associated blue, cottage, and Swiss with cheese, a commendable and constructive thing to do.
So, will you be grabbing a couple brewskies the next time your office is looking to drum up better ideas? Just make sure those meetings have a designated driver.